Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier


The Internet is like the Old West—a frontier rich with opportunity and hope, but also a rough-and-tumble land of questionable characters, dubious legal jurisdictions, and hidden dangers. And just like the Old West, if you want to stake out your territory, you have to get there first and fend for yourself.

On the web, that means defending your good name and reputation before the attacks start. Because, despite the excellent product or service you provide, all it takes is one ...

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The Internet is like the Old West—a frontier rich with opportunity and hope, but also a rough-and-tumble land of questionable characters, dubious legal jurisdictions, and hidden dangers. And just like the Old West, if you want to stake out your territory, you have to get there first and fend for yourself.

On the web, that means defending your good name and reputation before the attacks start. Because, despite the excellent product or service you provide, all it takes is one unhappy customer, jealous acquaintance, or unsavory competitor to start the rumors flying. Before you know it, search engines are regenerating that negative publicity every time someone researches you or your business.

Wild West 2.0 offers simple yet extraordinarily powerful ways to:

Proactively protect your online reputation • Determine the extent of reputation damage and identify its original source • Offset even the most savage attacks—and get the truth out there • Control how search engines rank and display results about your business and your name • Create positive Internet content and buzz that become “word-of-mouse” marketing

In the age of Wild West 2.0, everyone has an online reputation. Who do you want to create yours?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fertik and Thompson, respectively CEO and chief privacy officer at ReputationDefender, tackle online defamation, which can cause a company significant damage with only a few mouse clicks. The good news is that if you are prepared, you can defend your company and make sure that its online image is a true reflection of reality. Likening the Internet to the new frontier of the American Wild West, the authors explore the challenges of being in a world that is instant, permanent, and anonymous. They provide valuable insight into the quandary of “Google Truth,” why people attack each other online, and the different types of Internet attacks. Of particular usefulness are the chapters on how to measure this type of damage, including how to do an online reputation audit. They stress the benefits of a proactive defense and show how to recover after the damage has been done. Full of invaluable information that readers will be very grateful to have when they need it, this book explains the rules and provides the tools for overcoming online attacks and regaining a positive reputation. (June)
From the Publisher

“…great for anyone interested in having a personal or business presence on the Internet and…in the sociological impacts of web 2.0.”--Library Journal

“Who knew that a business book could be scarier than any horror novel?...this book is a must-read.” --The Bookworm Sez

“The coverage here is broad and certainly will inform most readers on topics and areas of concern that they had heretofore not likely considered…Be warned.” -- Blog on Books

“… worthwhile addition to the online marketing library and a solid reference if one's...good name and reputation are already under attack.” --Miami Herald

“…online reputation can be damaged in a matter of seconds…book teaches you how to fix it, if it gets out of control…highly recommend this one to anyone in marketing...”--Geek Girl Reviews.com

“…much needed and necessary resource to combat the ever-increasing online damage to professional and personal reputations.”--Suite101.com

“…comprehensive look at a complex subject...a great reminder of why it's important that while we embrace new media, we recognize its perils as well.” --Ad Pulp.com

“..offer insights into maintaining online anonymity, the tactics of online attackers, how to avoid harassment and how to conduct an online reputation audit." --Houston Business Journal

“…information provided in this brilliant book can spell the difference between a lost reputation, and a positive image...essential and seminal book on online reputation management.”--Blog Business World

"...important new book…savvy, well-researched guide…loaded with useful defense moves.” --Joyce Lain Kennedy, nationally syndicated columnist

“…excellent job of pointing out how and why the world-wide web is in many ways like the American Old West…good place to start to protect yourself and your livelihood.” --Inland Empire Business Journal

“…information in the book is well thought out and will…help you maintain your reputation…if you are worried about your online reputation, this book will help you maintain or repair it.” --Online magazine

"...authors’ enthusiasm for remedying the harm done to reputations by malicious, intentional lies comes through on every page.” --Security Management

ForeWord Book of the Year Bronze Winner Business & Economics Category 2011

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814415092
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 6/2/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL FERTIK (Redwood City, CA) is the founder and CEO of ReputationDefender, the world’s first comprehensive online reputation management and privacy company with customers in over 40 countries. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Michael serves on the advisory board of The Internet Keep Safe Coalition. He has appeared on "Dr. Phil", "The Today Show", "Good Morning America", "The CBS Early Show", "20/20", and "Fox Business", and been featured in publications including The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Wall Street Journal.

DAVID THOMPSON (Los Angeles, CA) is General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer of ReputationDefender.

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Read an Excerpt

C H A P T E R 1

Welcome to the New Digital Frontier

Imagine a place where anonymous vandals can spray repugnant

graffiti about you or your business without any consequence. They

may call you a criminal, accuse your business of fraud, or reveal your

most personal secrets. And this graffiti is viewed not only by a handful

of passersby—instead, it is spread worldwide and instantly broadcast

to anyone who looks for information about you. You can’t remove

the smear, and copies of it are permanently saved around the world.

Sound frightening? You don’t have to imagine this scenario. It

happens every day on the Internet. The victims are innocent people—

parents, teachers, students, managers, workers, craftsmen, business

owners, and more. Real personal reputations are being trashed

with just a few mouse clicks, real businesses are losing thousands of

customers due to false reports online, and real relationships are being

destroyed by anonymous gossip.

Welcome to the New Digital Frontier

The Internet has changed the rules for reputation. Once, reputation

was hard-earned and carefully guarded. Today, your reputation

can be created or destroyed in just a few clicks. And there are

plenty of people who seek to destroy your reputation: bullies, people

jealous of your success, competitors for jobs or customers (or even

loves), and gangs of disaffected teenagers. The Internet gives them

the power to permanently scar your reputation. They harness the

power of Google™ and the Web to broadcast false and distorted information

about you and your business to your closest friends and

most distant customers. They can manipulate your photos, steal your

secrets, and ruin your credit. If you are prepared, you can defend

yourself from these attacks. But if you aren’t careful, you can just

make matters worse by fanning the flames.

Don’t even think of ignoring the Internet’s impact on your reputation.

The Internet is not some passing fad; it is here to stay. It is the

primary source of information about people, products, services, and

companies. Even if you don’t use the Internet, your boss, your customers,

your neighbors, your friends, and your family do. What they

find online will shape how they think about you, for better or worse:

they could find slanderous allegations or shocking photos posted by

a digital Peeping Tom; your business might be the subject of an online

boycott or an urban legend about your business might spread

through social discussion sites; or your relationships might be poisoned

by false gossip. The worst part is that once false information

about you is spread online, it can start a self-sustaining cycle that

spreads it further and faster than you thought possible.

Luckily, the well prepared can still prosper on this new digital

frontier. The Internet is not something to be afraid of; instead, it is

a tremendous opportunity to shape the way that people see you or

your business. Careful monitoring of your online reputation (or that

of your business) combined with delicate intervention can help you

make sure that your online image is a true reflection of reality. Often,

by acting quickly you can stop online attacks and set the record

straight. And careful seeding of positive truthful content will help

you improve your social standing, get more clients, or grow your

business. Thanks to the Internet, you have the chance to take direct

control of the way people see you.

This book will teach you what you need to know to prosper in

the new Wild West of online reputation. It will explain the rules of

the new digital frontier, teach you to measure and analyze your reputation,

and then give you the tools you need to defend yourself

from online reputation attack. It will also explain special considerations

and tactics for small businesses and professionals. In short,

not all hope is lost: by learning the tricks of online reputation, you

can defend—or even improve—your online image.

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Table of Contents


C H A P T E R 1 :

Welcome to the New Digital Frontier 1

C H A P T E R 2 :

Your Online Reputation Is Your Reputation 16

C H A P T E R 3 :

The Internet Is the New Wild West 30

C H A P T E R 4 :

The Forces Driving Online Reputation 44

C H A P T E R 5 :

Anonymous Cowards 61

C H A P T E R 6 :

Google Gone Wild: The Digital Threat to Reputation 82

C H A P T E R 7 :

Why People Attack Each Other Online 100

C H A P T E R 8 :

Types of Internet Attacks 123

C H A P T E R 9 :

How to Measure Damage to Your Internet Reputation Damage 150

C H A P T E R 1 0 :

Your Reputation Road Map and Online Reputation Audit 162

C H A P T E R 1 1 :

Getting Proactive: The Best Defense Is a Good Offense 188

C H A P T E R 1 2 :

Recovering from Online Smears: Restoring Your Reputation

After the Damage Has Been Done 207

C H A P T E R 1 3 :

Protect Your Small Business and Your Professional Reputation 234

C H A P T E R 1 4 :

Conclusion: Embrace the Internet 249

Glossary 251

Index 255

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2010

    The Wild Wild Web - How it became so and what you need to know and do to protect your online and real world reputation

    Michael Fertik and David Thompson's WILD WEST 2.0 traces the history of the internet from its roots in the ARPA Net with Defense Department and college and university researchers sharing and collaborating plain text data files with each other to today's no holds barred anything goes world wild web. The book outlines the honor, integrity, and chivalry of the academic researchers and government employees that worked together to share data and information with each other in the early days of the internet. For many of us that got our start on the Advanced Research Products Agency Network and Defense Data Network (ARPA Net and DDN), the intended use and the shared rules we lived by were well understood and generally followed (although some have been found later to have been using the technology for personal not professional use).
    In the early to mid-90s, we were horrified to discover that our internal and sometimes sensitive pre-publication research documents, data, and information were being readily accessed by the public with a 14K baud modem and a web browser like National Center for Supercomputing Applications Mosaic or Netscape and through the indexing power of the Digital Equipment Corporation's AltaVista Search engine. In a forerunner to "The Google Truth" that the authors discuss, AltaVista results also brought back less than authoritative or non-flattering information that was not intended to be shared in public. Back in the day, there were unwritten rules that gave people whose information had been purloined or whose reputation had been impugned a means to remediate or mitigate the offense. Today, not even public laws protect individual rights, privacy, reputation, or property. Life, liberty, truth, justice, and the American way are not safe with anonymous character assassins and thieves operating in a in a global, virtual world wild web with essentially no rules, no sheriff and no justice system that can penetrate the dark shadows from which they operate.
    Fertik and Thompson outline a strategy for those that wish to live in the public domain (tweeting, blogging, and Facebooking is a choice) and for those that hope to live quiet, private lives far removed from the obsession with social networking that seems to consume so much time in "everyone's" day. The bottom line is that it takes work to watch your own back. Public records are researched and compiled into services that - for a fee - allow anyone to get more information about you than you probably knew yourself. Monitoring your own image is important - - even for the non-public semi-private person.
    The hard choice is to go proactive. For companies and small businesses, this is a must. For people that plan to live their virtual lives on Facebook, Twitter, etc., this too is a must. The strategies outlined in this book are the basics that public personas have to implement for basic reputation defense purposes. When harmed, the authors recommend bringing in the professionals. Some things can be fixed - - others only mitigated. In addition, in the worst case - - if the culprit can be found - - legal action is the final recourse to character assassination by the "truth" rendered by search engine algorithms.
    This book is a must read for anyone concerned about their identity and reputation in the real and virtual world.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Informed report on protecting your reputation online

    Although the Internet is the greatest information resource and connectivity medium the world has ever seen, it is still remarkably wild and woolly. Millions of shady characters inhabit it, lurking to steal your shirt and sell it back to you at twice the original price. Some online con artists set up phony rating sites where they publish scathing reviews of companies' products and then extort heavy fees from those firms to remove the negative reviews. Malevolent liars use the Internet anonymously to ruin people's reputations or corporations' standings with blog attacks and negative postings. Reputation management consultants Michael Fertik and David Thompson examine these fraudulent activities and more in this disturbing but timely book, and they outline steps you can take to protect your online reputation or the good name of your business. Though the book is somewhat repetitive, Fertik and Thompson have created a solid, useful manual on safeguarding your good name online. getAbstract recommends it to anyone who has to fight back against online slurs, and to anyone who has a good reputation and wants to keep it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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